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Running back White announces commitment to USC

By PHIL KORNBLUT
Posted 12/14/19

Running back ZaQuandre White (6-feet-2-inches, 205 pounds) of Iowa Western Junior College in Council Bluffs announced on his Instagram page on Thursday that he is committed to the university of South Carolina. However, there's been no corresponding …

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Running back White announces commitment to USC

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Running back ZaQuandre White (6-feet-2-inches, 205 pounds) of Iowa Western Junior College in Council Bluffs announced on his Instagram page on Thursday that he is committed to the university of South Carolina. However, there's been no corresponding "SpursUp" from USC head coach Will Muschamp to make the commitment official.

White, who began his college career at Florida State as a linebacker, also considered Tennessee and had planned to visit Knoxville this coming weekend. He took his official visit to USC for the Clemson weekend.

"They just like that I'm an all-around back," White said earlier this month. "I fit their system. They like their backs to check out of the backfield. They just like me as an all-around player. I feel like that this would be a good fit for me. I just feel like I'm an all-around back and can do it all. I just feel like they'll have a playmaker coming."

White rushed for 876 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

White said earlier this month he planned to sign in December and enroll in January, but he had some academic work to improve on coming out of FSU. That may be the issue for him now.

USC defensive lineman commitment Alex Huntley of Hammond in Columbia won't sign this month, but he is locked in with USC. He made the comments to Chris Dearing of TheState.com after winning the Richland Country Mr. Football Award last week.

USC RB target Len'Neth Whitehead of Athens, Ga., took an official visit to UCLA last weekend. He has also visited USC and Tennessee officially, and he's down to these three schools. He plans to sign this month.

USC's involvement with defensive end Yaya Diaby (6-4, 255) of Georgia Military College continues to be hot, and the two have set up an official visit to Columbia for the third weekend in January. Diaby is a native of Riverdale, Ga., and was the leading tackler for GMC this season with 58 tackles. He also had 16 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks.

He's a recruit whose stock has steadily climbed throughout the season to the point he has numerous major offers from which to choose. He's set to see West Virginia this weekend after taking official visit to Kansas State last weekend. He also has Tennessee, Utah, Texas Tech, Central Florida, Houston and Arizona working him for visits.

He will not sign early so he'll have time for more visits in January and could set two more besides the one to USC.

USC was one of the latter teams to give Diaby an offer, but GMC head coach Bert Williams said that's no problem and there's obvious strong interest from his player's part.

"I think he is," Williams said. "He has had some good talks with (DL coach) John Scott apparently. He's wide open. I would say if there's anybody potentially in the lead it would be Louisville simply because of longevity. They were in there back in the spring and have the longest amount of time with him.

"He really hasn't given an indication one way or another. Staying close to home is not a big deal for him. He's kind of open to that, to going farther away, going to where he feels is the best place for him. He wasn't recruited much coming out of high school so this is the first rodeo for him."

USC has had a lot of success recruiting GMC over the years and has two GMC graduates on the roster right now. That, Williams said, can only help USC with Diaby.

"I'm sure it doesn't hurt," Williams said. "He knows guys that's been there, played with guys that have been there or siblings that's been there. He's at least indirectly familiar with Columbia. Certainly that level of familiarity is a benefit. We've got a couple of guys that are there now."

Diaby visited Louisville and Auburn unofficially during the season.

USC added another target to its 2020 recruiting board last week when Muschamp offered wide receiver Ger-Cari Caldwell (6-4, 190) of Northwestern High in Rock Hill. The Shrine Bowl selection is a former East Carolina commitment. Along with USC, he's also added fresh offers from Duke, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Baylor. Caldwell grew up a USC fan and was thrilled to get the offer.

"This offer is big time," Caldwell said. "It's close to home and I'll be playing at a high level. South Carolina likes my ability to catch the ball at the highest point. They also love my breakaway speed (4.48 seconds in the 100-yard dash) once the ball is in my hands. I think I would fit in there as an outside receiver who can line up and get the jump ball, and with my breakaway speed I can catch the short route and take it to the house."

This season Caldwell had 51 receptions for 744 yards and seven TDs and had over 1,000 all-purpose yards.

He did not make it in for a game this season, thought he was invited for the Clemson game. He did attend a camp at USC last summer.

The offer might have come a little later in the process, but Caldwell is glad that it did. "South Carolina is actually my dream school," Caldwell said. "I had dreams about getting this offer. I dreamed of even going to the school. I have thought about it (committing), but I'm going to wait for a second, but I am thinking about committing. I don't know when a particular commitment will come out, but a commitment is in mind. They are an option. They are definitely up there."

USC recruiter Bobby Bentley was by his school last week, and Caldwell also talked on the phone with Muschamp, who made the official offer.

"He just saw my film and he thought my film was amazing and that I could be just a good player for the program," Caldwell said.

This season Caldwell attended games at ECU and WF. He went to WF last weekend and is to go to Baylor this weekend. He is not signing early so he won't take his official visit to USC until January.

Highly touted '21 offensive lineman Micah Morris (6-4, 316) of Kingsland, Ga., reaffirmed his top six of USC, Alabama, Auburn, Louisiana State, Georgia and Florida. Morris plans to announce his college decision on Tuesday and then shut down his recruiting.

USC was the first program to offer him and that has stuck with him throughout the process.

"South Carolina was the first school that offered me, so the relationship that I have with South Carolina has been the one that I've had longer than with any other school," Morris said. "I've been going there since I was a freshman, so it's just the bond I've made with the staff."

Morris visited all of his finalists this season with Auburn getting the last visit for the Iron Bowl.

USC handed out two more offers to '21 prospects in the Atlanta area. One went to athlete Nathaniel Wiggins (6-2, 170) of Grady High School, the other to cornerback Demarko Williams (5-10, 165) of Westlake High.

Wiggins has offers from Mississippi State, Alabama-Birmingham, Pittsburgh and Liberty. He can play CB and WR.

Williams also plays WR and returns punts and kicks. However, schools like him primarily for CB. Along with USC, Williams has offers from Oregon, Minnesota, Toledo and WF. Williams has not yet visited USC but he plans to in January at the request of recruiter and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson.

"He said he wanted me to come down to see the campus, and he loved my film and he decided to offer," Williams said. "It feels good. I appreciate the offer and I want to go down and see how they treat their players. Is it a family or is it just football."

Williams has USC among the schools standing out the most to him right now along with WF, Oregon and Minnesota. This season he went to games at FSU, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Michigan State. Virginia Tech was by the school last week to check in on Williams. He said he also saw recruiters from UCLA and Auburn come by his school, and he's expecting USC and Pitt to visit later this month.

USC offered '21 CB Jordan Hancock of Suwanee, Ga., '21 defensive back Damond Harmon of Highland Springs, Va., and '22 ATH Dallan Hayden (5-11, 179) of Memphis, Tenn.

2021 OL/DL Nick Barrett (6-3 323) of Goldsboro, NC made a visit to USC for the Clemson game. "My experience for the visit went good. But what stood out to me the most was how we rode the bus to the stadium, I haven't been too many different colleges, so that was first for me. Another thing that stood out to me was the facility. Also, the staff was good. I felt comfortable around them, and any questions that I asked were answered."

Cody Bradford (6-3, 270), a '21 OL from Flowery Branch, Ga., made an unofficial visit to USC for the Clemson game.

"The visit was great," Bradford said. "The brand new facility and weight room were amazing, and the atmosphere at the game was awesome. What I liked was how they work you hard but also take care of you in the recovery room. All-around great time. I talked to (OL) Coach (Eric) Wolford, Coach Bentley and (assistant) Coach (Marcus) Lattimore mostly, and they just told me to keep grinding and working and to have fun with it and hopefully I can come back."

Bradford has not been offered, and he also visited Furman this season.

USC has not recruited the state of Oklahoma much over the years, but Bentley identified a target he likes in '22 tight end Andre Dollar (6-5, 222) of Mustang and made him an offer when he was in for an unofficial visit for the Clemson game.

Dollar has also been offered at this point by Liberty, Georgia Southern, Evangel and Southern Mississippi, but his list is expected to grow with Power Five offers over the coming months. For now, he's happy to get that first big-time offer from USC.

"I've grown up watching SEC (Southeastern Conference) football, so it was an amazing feeling to receive it," Dollar said. "They've been in touch for a couple months, so when it was finalized I felt thankful and appreciative.

"I like how South Carolina incorporates tight ends into their offense in many ways. I also loved the facilities that I got to experience on Saturday. They have some of the best coaches in the nation, including Coach Bentley. They like how I can be used in many different ways, and I'm very reliable in tough situations. They like my height and build as well."

Dollar also has taken visits to UGA, Oklahoma and Stanford. From what he saw on his visit to USC and with the offer, Dollar has put USC in a strong position early in his recruiting along with UGA and Oklahoma.

"They are definitely higher up on the list," Dollar said. "From relationships to communication to overall enjoyment. I've been to some other colleges on unofficial visits, and South Carolina was by far the best."

USC '21 TE target Bryson Nesbit of Charlotte was offered by Penn State. Some of his other offers are USC, Duke, NCSU, UF, Virginia, Louisville, North Carolina, LSU and Maryland. He visited USC multiple times during the season. His father is former USC OL Jamar Nesbit.

CLEMSON

Clemson landed a commitment from OL Trent Howard (6-4, 283) of Birmingham, Ala., the sixth OL committed for the class that now has 21 total.

Howard had been committed to GT until he got the Clemson offer. He announced a decommitment from the GT one day and committed to Clemson the next day.

Howard had a connection with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney through his father, who was teammates with Swinney at Alabama in the early 1990s.

He visited Clemson last spring. Besides Clemson and GT, some of the other listed Power Five offers for him are Boston College, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State and WF.

"They believe I am a great fit and my best days of football are ahead of me," Howard said. "We have not discussed much, but I believe I will be an interior lineman. They have said they like my mobility and the way I finish blocks."

Howard joins an OL class for Clemson that also includes John Williams of Canton, Ga., Walker Parks of Lexington, Ky., Paul Tchio of Alpharetta, Ga., Mitchell Mayes of Raleigh, N.C., and Bryn Tucker of Knoxville. The six OLs in the class equal the total of OLs Clemson signed in the last two classes combined. Howard plans to sign on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period for football.

According to Rivals West Coast analyst Adam Gorney, linebacker Justin Flowe of Upland, Calif., took an official visit to Southern California last weekend. He has taken official visits to Clemson, Miami and Oregon.

Clemson offered 2020 DB Kendall Dennis of Lakeland, Fla. He has taken official visits to Nebraska and Oklahoma and visited Clemson. Dennis also has offers from Miami, Auburn, UF, FSU, UGA, Tennessee and others.

Another highly regarded '21 OL, Tommy Brockermeyer of Fort Worth, Texas, has Clemson in his top five along with Texas, Alabama, LSU and Auburn.

CLEMSON AND USC

Jeadyn Lukas, a '22 DB from Mauldin High, visited USC unofficially for the Clemson game. "The facilities were nice, and I liked the atmosphere in the stadium," Lukas said. Lukas also visited Clemson this season. He was offered by UF last week.

OTHERS

Lugoff-Elgin High OL Parker Clements committed to VT. Defensive tackle Brandon Johnson of Fort Dorchester High in North Charleston committed to Navy.